Economic plan: for a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy

Economics Economic growth Sustainable development shared prosperity New Zealand

New Zealanders value a strong economy that provides decent jobs, higher incomes and opportunities for current and future generations.

Equally, New Zealanders understand that the health and wellbeing of the people, the protection and enhancement of the environment, and the strength of the communities allow the country to achieve the potential.

The importance of balancing these four components of wellbeing – financial, human, natural and social capital – is central to New Zealand's plan for building a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy.

New Zealand’s economy has faced a number of long-term challenges in recent decades, including low productivity and wages, skills shortages, shallow domestic capital markets, a lack of diversification and under-investment in infrastructure.

New Zealanders inherited economic settings which meant people were having to work harder just to maintain their standards of living. New Zealand has consistently had low labour productivity growth, and recorded negative growth on average between 2013 and 2017.

At a broader level, worsening water quality in New Zealand's rivers and lakes shows that some growth has been at the expense of the environment. Growing inequality shows the benefits of economic growth have not been shared equally by all New Zealanders.

New Zealand also faces a number of new challenges. The global economy is in a period of disruption from the impacts of rising trade protectionism and unconventional monetary policy. In New Zealand, people are faced with the challenges of climate change, aging and changing workforces, and technological change.

Fixing and facing up to these long-term challenges requires an economic plan that takes into account a broader definition of what success looks like, and acknowledges that New Zealand's people, environment and communities are intertwined with the economy. It means looking ahead over 30 years, and not just three.

The Government’s Economic Plan is set in the context of people's wellbeing agenda and is designed to build a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy to improve the wellbeing and living standards of all New Zealanders.

The Plan identifies eight key shifts and policy action related to each shift that will tackle the long-term challenges the New Zealand economy is facing. They signal New Zealand's goal to balance outcomes across financial, human, natural and social capital, and will act as an overarching guide for government departments designing economic policy.

These shifts and initiatives will deliver on the four economic priorities: to grow and share New Zealand’s prosperity, support thriving and sustainable regions, transition to a clean, green and carbon neutral New Zealand and deliver responsible governance with a broader measure of success.

New Zealand has a unique opportunity to build on the country's strengths, and use these to lead the world on standing up to the economic challenges of the next 30 years, turning issues like climate change and the technological revolution into economic opportunities.

New Zealand can’t do this on its own. The government knows it is essential to partner with business, workers, communities and iwi on addressing the long-term challenges our economy faces.

This plan provides an overarching guide for what New Zealand sees as the key shifts the economy needs to make to transition to more productive, sustainable and inclusive growth. It is an integral part of delivering wellbeing for all New Zealanders.

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